Friday 19 February 2021

Inspired by Coldplay's video for The Scientist, Helen Charlston and the OAE put a very contemporary take on Dido's Lament

I have to confess to being entirely ignorant of Coldplay's hit The Scientist, whose video (directed by Jamie Thraves) told the story of a young man's loss of his lover in reverse, but the trope of telling tragedy in reverse is a familiar one. In the second of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's Baroque and contemporary remixes [the first featured baritone James Newby drowning in water in a diving helmet], the OAE and mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston take Dido's Lament, 'When I am laid in earth' from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and apply the Coldplay video's treatment.

So we have a contemporary setting for Dido, she is a very modern girl and we watch her in reverse going from tragedy to pleasure, and during the filming Helen Charlston actually did speak the words of the aria in reverse (with a great deal of practice evidently!).

The result is intriguing, even for those like me who have never seen the original video. See Helen Charlston and the OAE's video above, or on YouTube.

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